WATER IS LIFE
A View Through the Eyes of Women
Mary Elmendorf, Ph.D.
Water as Life: A Sustaining Vulnerable Resource
When I was asked to review some of the changing policies and
strategies related to water resources and environmental
sanitation with an emphasis on gender issues, I wondered if I
had been invited because I was the oldest woman water
advocate around. Certainly as I look at the agenda for IFUs
symposium on Technology and Culture there are today many
experts who can speak with more authority on current projects
and programs as well as on the scientific, economic and
technical aspects of the problems than I can. At the age of 83,
I am practically retired, doing my best to cut back on intense
involvement in what has been the central theme of my
professional life; but it is a pleasure to share my knowledge and
experience with a group of concerned young women. I am
delighted to pass the torch on to you!
The 1950s, 60s and 70s were periods of material expansion.
There was hope that the two thirds of humankind still in the pre-
technological stage would take off and enter the high
consumption society by suitable transfers of capital and
technology. In the West the man on the street was largely seized
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during this period with the notion that technology could find a
solution to any problem mankind might create. As a reasonable
extension of this faith in technology and science, it was widely
held that the same forces which had made cars, televisions,
food, and even houses with piped water and sewage plentiful in
the West would eventually do the same for the rest of the world.
By the late 70s we became more aware of our fragile
environment and our misuse of our resources. It became clear
that water second only to air as man's most valuable life-giving,
life-sustaining resource was very vulnerable (Letitia Obeng,
1977). Human well-being and productivity are directly influenced
by the source and use of water for household consumption,
disposal of waste water and agricultural production. Everything
depends on water.
The arguments of overall shortages which have dominated
issues of other resources, such as energy and food, are
different because they can be increased. The vast hydrological
systems which regularly recycle water for human use seem
inexhaustible yet shortages are increasing in many areas of the
world because of overuse and undercare too much taken out
and too much poisonous gunk put in. (Barbara Ward 1977).
Unlike fossil fuels, water is a renewable resource but only if
properly used and conserved.
In pointing our that there is no substitute for water, the United
States Agency for International Development, USAID,
highlighted some interesting facts about water and our world
today in FIGURE 1 prepared for World Water Day this past
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The "local" dimensions of our water situation are clear: At the
World Water Forum held in March 2000 in the Hague a
declaration was issued that "every person, everywhere, should
have access to enough safe water at an affordable cost.
However, while the ministers acknowledged concerns and
drafted a framework calling for "integrated water resources
management", their critics said it is too little too late.... "This is a
flawed framework," said Richard Holland, director of The World
Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Living Waters Campaign. "It's built
on a basic misunderstanding of the role of nature in meeting
human needs such as water for drinking and food production".
On the final day of the forum, non-governmental organizations
and major trade unions presented a joint statement to the
ministers, saying the resolution to come out of the forum was, in
a manner of speaking, watered down. "We need reform of the
governance of water based on the skills, experience and
legitimacy of local people and communities, on recognition of the
primacy of human needs and rights, and on sound
understanding of ecosystems and river basin management. We
need targets and timetables for improvement", the groups said
in the statement. (Shaw, World Bank, 2000)
So, too, the increasingly urgent global dimensions of our water
situation are clear: less than a month after the World Water
Forum, in a speech to highlight the Clinton/Gore Administration's
observance of Earth Day 2000, U.S. Secretary of State
Madeline Albright focused her remarks on water. She said, I
have chosen this topic because, although water is often thought
of in very local terms, it is certain to be among the principal
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global environmental challenges of the 21st Century..., As a
diplomat, I have seen firsthand the tensions that competition for
water can generate, and the suffering that mismanagement and
shortages can cause... Moreover, studies show that the squeeze
on water resources will tighten as populations grow, demand
increases, pollution continues, and global climate change
accelerates... As competition for water intensifies, further
disagreements over access and use are likely to erupt. And
unless properly managed, water scarcity can be a major source
of strife, as well as a roadblock to economic and social
progress. (Madeline Albright, 2000).
ULTIMATELY, MUCH OF THE BURDEN OF FOLLOW
THROUGH WILL BE ON WOMEN !
Even though they are not specifically mentioned by Secretary
Albright, lack of involving women or of understanding their
important roles as the primary users and manager of domestic
water and sanitation as well as guardians of their environments
may lead to innumerable failures as has happened in so many
development projects. As Siri Melchior, former manager of the
UNDP/PROWWESS program stated in 1989, ... women are not
a special interest group in water and sanitation, they are a
mainstream interest group ... without their involvement, projects
risk being inappropriate, and failing. (Melchior, 1989).
As was noted in 1986 in Water Wastes and Women: The
Water for irrigation, for crops, for food, for cattle, and for
domestic purposes are treated as separate problems by
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outsiders but it is all one problem, a single resource to
people, especially the women, in the community. The
linkages, the interrelationships, the recyclable quality of
water itself -- all combine to make separation impossible.
Recent studies point out clearly that by relieving women of
the time and energy spent or lost in the drudgery related to
obtaining and using unsafe water, women can become
more equal partners or less unequal partners as Jennie
Dey said so well (1981) in overall development activities.
Women are the focal point for delivery of basic services as
shown in the following figure, with water the primary
resource. (Elmendorf 1986)
SEE FIGURE # 2
ARE WE ASKING TOO MUCH OF WOMEN ?
As Noleen Heyzer, the Director of UNIFEM (United Nations
Fund for Women) said in the Spring 1996 issue of
UNIFEM/USA: It is unacceptable that as we go into the 21st
century, women make up 70% of the world's 1.3 billion absolute
poor. Without access to safe water, women's burdens are
greater. The following Figure # 3, Household Centered
Environmental Sanitation (Kalbermatten, etal 1999), takes us to
the household level but not inside where decisions are made
and utilities used. The Figure graphically presents the methods
which have tended to govern most development projects not just
in the water and sanitation sector in the past. The proposed
approach changes the process from Global To Local to Local to
Global! At last we have reached bottom up planning instead of
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top down, a goal of many of us have worked for over the years.
As they note there appear to be considerable advantages in
thinking in holistic terms and using functional divisions (planning;
safeguarding public health; environmental protection; waste
minimization, resource recovery and final disposal; etc.), rather
than service-by-service. This integration has to start at the
household level, since it is users perceptions and priorities that
determine sustainability. Gender consideration, which focuses
on the roles and tasks of men and women, are crucially
important at the local level where success depends on all
potential beneficiaries having a say in choosing the appropriate
technology, knowing the cost in money and work both for
installation, maintenance and effective use. (Elmendorf, 1983,
At the level of households themselves, many of which are
female headed, the women are usually the managers, the
trainers, the decision makers, who give priority to water and
sanitation. Documentation reflecting this was summarized in
1985 by Christine van Wyck Sijbesma in Participation of
Women in Water Supply and Sanitation: roles and realities,
an important resource published by the International Reference
Centre IRC in the Netherlands. Since 1991 IRC with
PROWWESS/UNDP-Worldbank has produced An Annual
Abstract Journal with financial support from several bilateral
agencies including NORAD, (Norway) and CIDA, (Canada). Each
issue contains a state-of-the-art article and abstracts of recent
documents on various aspects related to gender. Most of the
documents considered grey literature unpublished or not
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easily accessible but contain valuable relevant literature, as we
refocus our planning process from global to local, to assure that
all citizens, including women, are full participants in every sense.
(Srinivasan, 1994, Wakeman, 1993, 1996, Fong, et al, 1996, van
But, as important as women's roles are within the household,
their involvement as a part of community participation in their
local neighborhoods as stakeholders in the process should not
be ignored. Perhaps some of you here attended Global Cities 21
a World Congress of Local Governments organized by the
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
held 28 June 2 July in Sachsen Anhalt as a part of Expo 2000
Hanover. One of their panels Gender and Local Sustainable
Development was focused on the critical roles that women play
in social development and natural resource management.
GLOBAL PROBLEM LOCAL SOLUTIONS
Today, the whole world is more aware of water -- as a basic
need, a human right -- something all human settlements depend
on and without which civilizations fall. Ester Boserup, the late
Danish economist and leader in the feminist movement,
suggested at the Congress of Americanists in 1972 that the
lowering water table was a possible cause of the collapse of the
Mayan Civilization. Is water scarcity going to cause the collapse
of the world we know today?
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World population has passed the 6 billion mark. As demands for
water grow, so does the potential for violent conflict. Writing in
1994, Malin Falkenmark and Jan Lundqvist noted: There has
been a threefold increase in world population this century. It had
risen from approximately 1.7 billion in 1990 to 5.5 billion by
1990. During the same period total global water withdrawal has
risen by a factor of 10: from 500 cubic kilometers to 5,000 cubic
Even in the face of this dramatic increase in average water use
per capital during the last century, each day more than one-fifth
of the world's people struggle to collect enough clean drinking
water to survive. In 1994 an estimated one billion people were
still without an adequate supply of water (Seragelden, 1994) -
and even cities where people never thought about where their
water came from or if it was even safe, were beginning to worry.
In fact, the American Association of Microbiologists announced
on May 22, 1996, that U. S. cities should prepare for epidemics
and deaths from unsafe drinking water unless something was
done immediately. By 2025, as many as 52 countries inhabited
by some 3 billion people (35% of the worlds projected
population) will face shortages. (Serageldin, I. 1995)
Ensuring safe accessible water for all, with related sanitation
measures, is probably the single most important undertaking
needed to improve the health and well-being of the worlds
people and to relieve women of unnecessary drudgery. III health
brought about by humans allowing their garbage and excrement
to be removed by the water courses out of which they take their
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drinking water is inexcusable. Contaminating the water with
pesticides and chemicals is also inexcusable. Eighty percent of
disease in the third world is related to unsafe water and poor
sanitation. Polluted water, water shortages, and unsanitary living
conditions kill over 12 million people a year. (USAID, 1990 and
Davidson, J., D. Myers, and M. Chakraborty, 1992).
SEE FIGURE # 3
Just before her death in 1982, Barbara Ward, the late British
economist, wrote in the Foreword to Down to Earth:
Environment and Human Needs: "Many cultures share a
profound belief that water is the basic sustenance of
humankind. That most fearsome image of pollution, the
deliberate poisoning of the wells, has always haunted people.
It is not chance that this was the first form of warfare to be
To give the world clean drinking water and decent sanitation
might cost US$ 80 million a day for the next 10 years. This is
trifling compared with the continuing hemorrhage of resources
to the instruments of death on which we spend a shameful US$
1,400 million a day." (Agarwal, et al, 1981)
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Unless all of us women and men from developed and
developing countries work together to maximize the quality of
life with more equitable sharing of water, clean air and food
within a more sustainable safe and secure environment there will
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be little for our children and grandchildren to look forward to.
(Elmendorf and Miller, 1996)
In her Earth Day 2000 remarks, U.S. Secretary Albright
proposed An Alliance for Global Water Security in the 21st
Century". She emphasized that it should be an alliance not
limited to certain countries and comprised of governments alone
but, "a less formal alliance open to all who comprehend the
urgency of working together to conserve transboundary water,
manage it wisely and use it well. Such an alliance, in many
ways, is similar to the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative
Council (WSSCC) formed at the end of the United Nations
Decade of Water 1980 1990 which became a sounding board
for concerned individuals, governments and NGOS. Despite all
this attention, progress of the sector has been uneven at best,
and too slow to bring quick relief to unserved populations around
the world. The World Water Councils Vision for Water, Life and
the Environment is following up with recommendations from
USAID and other external support agencies. Perhaps Secretary
Albrights Alliance can build on the lessons we have learned, the
technologies we have tested and the new approaches to enlist
community participation with women as active "stakeholders".
(Kalbermatten, et al, 1999)
During my 63 years of professional life I have been privileged to
work closely with many of the pioneers, not only engineers,
economists and politicians, but especially the handful of women
leaders: Margaret Mead, Ela Bhatt, Esther Boserup, Barbara
Ward,- and now Madeline Albright, who have helped define the
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important issues e.g. the need for community involvement, the
importance of equity and women involvement. To the degree I
have contributed to this important set of issues, I believe it has
been in part the circumstances and serendipities of life. Also, I
have had the opportunity to work with governmental and non-
governmental agencies both as a volunteer and as an employee,
but usually as a consultant. By doing so I have never achieved
tenure nor have I retired as an emeritus, but I have been free to
follow an issue, the roles of women in water supply and
environmental sanitation, to question policy, to make
recommendations, to test theories and to experiment with new
techniques. And, while I have named a few of the important
leaders, I urge us also to remember the tireless footsoldiers the
countless anonymous women who, the world over, have given
much of their lives to meeting each of their families water needs
- imperfectly, but at great sacrifice. (White, et al, 1972)
Lets set the stage for women:
* Fifty years ago it began to be noticed that access to water
was a big problem.
* Thirty years ago the problem began to be acknowledged
* Twenty five years ago women from developing countries
plead for help.
* Fifteen years ago pledges began to be made.
* Ten years ago more promises were made.
* Five years ago questions were raised by women worldwide in
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* Today, in evaluations presented at the Beijing plus 5"
meetings, we see that the situation is worse than ever.
During the last three decades water and sanitation have been
recurring themes at the UN conferences (SEE CHART 2). There
has been increasing recognition of gender issues and of the
need for women involvement as we move toward more
integrated collaborative approaches.
In 1975 at the UN Conference on Women in Mexico, highest on
the agenda of most of the women from the industrialized world
were their rapidly evolving demands for higher wages, political
power, "women's liberation". They were surprised by the strident
pleas from women from Africa, Asia and Latin America for help
to reduce unnecessary suffering from hunger, illness and
poverty and the endless struggles for survival. In the beginning
they showed relatively little empathy but the Plan of Action
adopted finally said:
"Improved, easily accessible, safe water supplies
(including wells, dams, catchments, piping, etc.),
sewage disposal and other sanitation measures
should be provided both to improve health conditions
of families and to reduce the burden of carrying water
which falls mainly on women and children."
Scarcely a year later at the1976 UN Conference on Human
Settlements, Habitat 1, Barbara Ward and Margaret Mead
scandalized the UN Conference by marching through the
conference corridors with pails of water on their heads. What in
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the world does water have to do with human settlements? asked
a shocked ambassador from a developing country.
To ensure to every village and city safe drinking water
reasonable sewage disposal... a need so basic and human
that not even the most indifferent or arrogant of ruling
groups could block it ... Barbara Ward, The Home of Man,
But it was there, after intense lobbying, that the UN adopted the
target of "CLEAN WATER FOR ALL BY 1990".
By 1980, at the Mid-Decade Conference on Women in
Copenhagen, a strong resolution was passed supporting the
goals of the IDWSSD calling on:
"Member States and UN agencies, including
specialized agencies, to promote full participation of
women in planning, implementation, and application of
technology for water supply projects."
By 1985, at the UN Conference in Nairobi, the Forward-Looking
Strategies for the Advancement of Women built on the growing
realization during the Decade of Women that for the unserved
populations to obtain access to water and use it effectively
women must participate. The following excepts are concrete:
Governments should integrate women in the
formulation of policies, programmes and projects for
the provision of basic shelter and infrastructure.
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Women and women's groups should be...
participants in and equal beneficiaries of
housing and infrastructure construction
consulted in the choice of design and
technology of construction...
involved in the management and maintenance
of the facilities...
Special attention must be given to the provision of
adequate water to all communities, in consultation
with women. (para. 210)
Efforts to improve sanitary conditions, including
drinking water supplies, in communities should be
strengthened, especially in urban slums and
squatter settlements and in rural areas, with due
regard to relevant environmental factors. These
efforts should be extended with the participation of
women at all levels in the planning and
implementation process. (Para. 225)
Lack of involving women, of understanding their important roles
as the primary users and managers of domestic water and
sanitation as well as guardians of their environments has caused
innumerable failures in development projects. Since their Pre
Habitat II meeting in Miami, when Bella Abzug started
questioning government policy and international organizations,
members of WEDO, the Womens Environment & Development
Organization have kept score cards in their local communities
and some are still assessing their government actions on
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implementing the Beijing Platform. In meetings world wide
evaluations of Beijing Plus 5 indicate that matters are worse, not
The documentation is there to show that it is women as
mothers, wives, daughters and partners who since 1975 have
known clearly and spoken out loudly for water and sanitation as
keys of family and community health and sustainable
development (Elmendorf, The IDWSSD and Womens
Involvement, 1990). Womens voices need to be heard
immediately in the proposed new Alliance for Global Water
Security in the 21st Century" as the stage for collaborative action
is prepared. As Secretary Albright said the world has the
capacity, and increasingly the will, to create water security for all
(Albright 2000, 5). We have also learned how critical are the
roles women must play in this ambitious but necessary
What can be done?
In 1995 at the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing,
there were numerous panels on poverty and peace in which the
consensus seemed to be that as long as there are millions of
babies dying, people hungry and suffering in poverty, there will
be wars. A Women's Peace Platform for the 21st Century
presented the following statistics:
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(SEE FIGURE 5)
Each year the world spends US$ 800 billion
on the military, US$ 400 billion on cigarettes,
US$ 250 billion on advertising, and US$ 285
billion on beer, wine and golf- a total of US$
1,735 billion on inessentials: Something is
wrong when according to UNICEF, the
world needs only US$ 34 billion per year to
provide basic needs safe water and
sanitation (US$ 9 billion), basic child health
and nutrition (US$ 13 billion), primary
education (US$ 6 billion) and family planning
(US$ 6 billion).
Even if the needs are US$ 50 billion, certainly it could be
feasible to reach full coverage if annual world military spending
was reduced by 10%, or US$ 80 billion. The remaining US$ 30
billion could then be applied in an integrated program for the
related human security needs of US$25 billion. Priorities must
change, as Barbara Ward said in 1982, "both the rich nations of
the North and in the rich minorities in the South." Knowing how
difficult it has been to reduce spending in the military industrial
complex, we might focus instead on the advertising industry and
request that one-fifth of their US$ 250 billion yearly be allocated
to solving the world-wide problems of water and sanitation.
Increasing taxes by 10% on cigarettes, beer and wine would
yield US$ 93.5 billion which could be used for social programs
while, at the same time, improving the world's health. The
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advertising industry could help us harness the "consumption
gap". (Whyte, 1994).
But even if it is not reasonable to expect changes in these
priorities anytime soon, other approaches can do much to close
the enormous financial "gap" which seems to stare us in the
face. Today, the poor pay far more for water than the wealthy.
There are ways, such as those pioneered by the Self Employed
Women's Association in Ahmedabad, India, to incorporate low-
income families into municipal water systems through the
creative use of modern microfinance systems- essentially,
wringing many of the cruel inefficiencies out of the existing
situation at no expense to any of the parties. (personal
communication Ela Bhatt, 1996, Rose, 1990]. We must, also,
give critical re-examination to our so-called "subsidies" in the
water sector, which with uniform predictability and bad effect,
flow not to the needy but to the privileged, and in doing so
encourage many of our most wasteful and damaging patterns of
water abuse and waste.
Our traditional choices of technology are as badly in need of
overhaul as our approaches to financing in the water sector. Our
heightened awareness of environmental problems, and the
dismal record of conventional "high-tech" water and wastewater
systems throughout the world, must incline us to look more
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carefully at less costly, more robust, and more environmentally
benign ways to use, cleanse, and re-use the priceless resource
of water. In the matter of technologies, as in financing, there do
exist practical options and better approaches- again, we can
tum to India and, from the work of the Sankat Mochan
Foundation in Varanasi, see not only the improvements that are
feasible, but also the frustrating difficulty of trying to change the
ingrained habits of government authorities. (Time Magazine,
1999, Stille, 1998)
Money is needed but -
Money alone, even if it were available, would not be enough.
Nearly 25 years ago, Saunders and Wofford of the World Bank
pointed out in Village Water Supply (1976) that 50% of the
installations for water supply and sanitation were inoperable or
unused within 5 years! Billions of wasted dollars! A 1979 follow-
up on this research by UNICEF and WHO confirmed that among
those systems that were still operating, there was a high level of
community participation. No gender analysis of the data was
available then, but has been provided later. (Naryan, 1993)
Community Participation and Womens Involvement
But how do we get women involvement? Twenty years ago -
even forty years ago some of us believed that community
participation with women's involvement, combined with technical
assistance and support at local, national and international levels
could bring about lasting solutions to basic needs such as safe
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drinking water. The some of us who believed were few in the
beginning but, over the years, the numbers have increased as
strategies have been refined, new techniques have been
developed to communicate, to encourage participatory planning,
monitoring and evaluation.(Elmendorf and Isely,1981,1983)
Forty years ago even twenty years ago the ideas that
women's involvement could make a significant difference were
derided or laughed at, or just tolerated. Some of us remember
as late as the early 1980's how difficult it was to even get a
Women's Task Force on the Interagency Committee of
IDWSSD. It wasn't until the ninth meeting that there was
acceptance and a spot on the agenda. (Elmendorf and Ma,
In many ways great strides were made at the 1983 Seminar in
Bangkok, the first International Conference on the Management
of Human Waste, co-sponsored by the Asia Institute of
Technology, the Institute of Housing Studies of the Netherlands
and the National Housing Authority of Thailand. At this
conference, many taboos were broken. Much to my pleasure,
the panel on Community Participation seemed to provide more
than rhetoric as did the discussion of "Women as Managers of
Human Waste: Training for New RolesO and Retraining for Old"
(Elmendorf, 1984). The proposal for UNDP/World Bank support
for PROWWESS, the project originally called Promotion and
Support for Women's Involvement in Water Supply and
Sanitation had just been approved. "Methods for Gathering
Socio-Cultural Data for Water Supply and Sanitation Projects"
had just been published! (Simpson-Hebert, 1983). During the
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last seventeen years, many of the training and research
techniques developed and tested through PROWWESS have
become a part of mainstream development, with widespread
acceptance of Participatory Development Tool Kit. (Narayan
and Srinivasan, 1994) in other sectors.
When the environment and public health ministers from more
than 80 countries gathered in the Netherlands with the
Collaborative Council in 1994 to discuss the pressing need to
stretch global water supplies, they agreed that their goal was to
provide water supplies and sanitation to everyone. However,
they tackled neither the issues of financing nor those of
managing (Moore, Deborah, 1994). As I noted earlier, money is
important but without community participation, with a focus on
women involvement sustainability and effective use will be
difficult to achieve...
During this conference I am sure you have heard numerous
references to NGOs and also to local community-based groups,
sometimes called CBGs. Over the last decade there has been
increasing recognition of the need for local participation, or
popular participation what in the thirties, forties, and fifties was
called community development and self-help. Today, the
bilateral development organizations such as USAID, NORAD,
DANIDA, and others, as well as the multinational organizations
such as UNDP and the World Bank at last realize that they must
reach the grass roots for their projects/programs to be
successful and sustainable (Black, 1998). As we provided
careful case studies, large agencies began to understand the
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need for working with NGOs, community organizations, local
women and even anthropologists to help understand and reach
the people women, men, and children. At last, most
development professionals have come to understand that an
official exchange with community leaders is not enough. Talking
with the chief is NOT community participation. By using the tools
and approaches provided through the broad field of gender
issues, which focuses on the roles and tasks of women and
men, hopefully we will achieve a partnership approach real
In many ways this is a very personal review of changing policies
and concepts related to water resources and environmental
sanitation during the last fifty years with a focus on gender
issues as seen through my eyes and the eyes of women at
many levels-- local to global, across sectors and disciplines. In
closing, I want to tell you that I feel optimistic. In spite of the
enormous problems still remaining, the stage seems to be set for
a worldwide collaborative effort to provide "SOME FOR ALL
INSTEAD OF MORE FOR SOME", the goal of the 1990 New
Delhi Statement. To reach that goal even by 2025 we must
carefully examine the technologies we are using, eliminate
unnecessary waste and pollution as well as the inequity of
distribution, and use a truly gender-based participatory approach
to involve and empower women (Wakeman, 1993). Once the
unreached have safe drinking water, these women will than be
able to work with us as together we build a more just, more
equitable, more stable, more peaceful, sustainable society with
an improved quality of life for all. (Elmendorf, 1996)
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Let us not forget what we have learned and what we knew
already, that community participation with women's involvement,
combined with technical assistance and support at local,
national and international levels can bring solutions to needs
such as safe drinking water, has led to strategies and
techniques which encourage communication and participatory
planning, monitoring and evaluation. "Along the way there have
been difficulties in gaining acceptance of the fact that women
MUST be involved at every level and at all stages of the project
cycle for sustainability and effective use. Let's not let it happen
WATER is life and WOMEN are the key agents to achieve a
fairer sharing of this valuable vulnerable resource.
Agarwal, Anil, Kimondo, James, Moreno, Gloria and Tinker, Jon,
Water, Sanitation, Health for All?, Earthscan, Great Britain,
Albright, Madeline, "An Alliance for Global Water Security in the
21st Century", Remarks at Event Sponsored by the World
Resources Institute and National Defense University in
Recognition of Earth Day, U. S. Department of State, April, 2000.
Black Maggie, Learning What Works: A Twenty-Year
Retrospective on International Water and Sanitation
Page 22 of 29
Cooperation, UNDP World Bank, Water and Sanitation
Program, Washington, 1998.
Boserup, Ester, "The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The
Economics of Agrarian Change Under Population Pressure",
Aldine, Chicago, 1963.
Boserup, Ester, "Women's Role in Economic Development",
Allen and Unwin, London, 1970.
Buckles, Patricia, "Documentation of the CARE/Ministry of
Health Potable Water and Latrine Project: Chiftinimit",
Mimeograph, CARE Atlanta, 1976.
Cairncross S. R. Feachem, Environmental Health Engineering
in the Tropics, 2nd Edition, Wiley, UK, 1993.
Davidson, J., D. Myers, and M. Chakraborty, No Time to Waste-
Poverty and the Global Environment, Oxfam, Oxford, 1992.
Elmendorf, Mary, "Priorities, challenges and strategies: a
feminine perspective", In: Pickford, John (Ed.) in Reaching the
Unreached: Challenges for the 21st century: proceedings of the
22nd WEDC conference, New Delhi, India, 9 13 September
1996. Loughborough, UK, Water, Engineering and Development
Centre (p. 7- 11), 1996.
Elmendorf, Mary, International Drinking Water Supply and
Sanitation and Women's Involvement, on behalf of the Steering
Page 23 of 29
Committee for Cooperative Action for the International Drinking
Water Supply and Sanitation Decade, WHO, Geneva, 1990.
Elmendorf, Mary, "Water, Waste and Women: The Hidden
Dimension" in Proceedings of the 1986 International Conference
on Water and Wastewater Management in Asia. Singapore,
Elmendorf, Mary, "Women as Managers of Human Waste:
Training for new roles and retraining for old: in Proceedings of
International Seminar on Human Waste Management, Institute
of Housing Studies, Rotterdam, and Asian Institute of
Technology, Bangkok, 1984.
Elmendorf, Mary, "Generalizations and Linkages: Pertinent
Research in the Literature on Women and Sanitation", presented
at INSTRAW (Institute for Training and Research on Women)
Seminar, Santo Domingo, 1983.
Elmendorf, Mary, Seven Case Studies in Rural and Fringe Areas
of Latin America, Vol. 8: Appropriate Technology for Water
Supply and Sanitation. World Bank, 1978, draft.
Elmendorf, Mary, "Public Participation and Acceptance", in
Environmental Impacts of International Civil Engineering
Projects and Practices, 1977.
Elmendorf, Mary and Jono Miller, "Global to Local: Changing
Strategies and Concepts" in proceedings of Sarasota Town Hall
Page 24 of 29
on Maximizing Our Quality of Life in a Sustainable Environment,
pre-Habitat II, Sarasota, Florida, 1996.
Elmendorf, Mary and Ma, Yancheng, Lessons from the Field:
How to Involve Women, UNICEF, 1985.
Elmendorf, Mary and Raymond B.
Participants and Beneficiaries in
Programs", USAID, WASH
11,Washington, December 198
Organization, Volume 42, No. 3 (1
Isely, "The Role of Women as
Water Supply and Sanitation
Technical Report No.
1, also published in Human
p. 195 204), Fall 1983.
Elmendorf, Mary and Buckles, Patricia, Socio-Cultural Aspects
of Water Supply and Excreta Disposal. Vol. 5: Appropriate
Technology for Water Supply and Sanitation. World Bank,
Elmendorf, Mary and Michael McGarry, "What is Appropriate
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Excreta Disposal. Elmendorf and Buckles, 1980.
Esrey, A. Steven, Potash,
"Quantifying the Health
B. James, Roberts, L. and Shiff, C.,
Effects of Water and Sanitation
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Page 25 of 29
Falkenmark, Malin and Lundquist, Jan, Water for All, University
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Additional information was obtained from various documents
from official UN meetings and NGO Forums from 1975 through
1995. Also examined were various materials during and
following the IDWSSD including the 1990 New Delhi Statement,
the IRC Annual Abstracts and publications including those by
UNICEF, WHO, WEDO, INSTRAW, UNIFEM, UNDP, World
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Global Cities 21, etc.
Page 29 of 29
Comparison of levels of
1980 and 1990
All developing countries
- Population with services
Q Population in need of services
1980 1990 1980 1990
basic water supply and sanitation
To meet their needs-as well as
those of the millions of other human
beings likely to join their ranks as
urban expansion continues-the suc-
cessful technologies and community-
based strategies pioneered during the
Decade will have to be applied on a
truly massive scale.
R A L Additional technical assistance will
Sanitation be needed to plan and organize new
2 6 5 9 programmes at all levels.
Financing must come not only from
organizations and donors, but from
lending institutions, the private
sector and community resources.
Research must continue in order to
find even better solutions for finan-
cing and building new systems and
keeping them in good repair.
Co-ordination of the numerous
efforts must be focused at the coun-
try level in order to use domestic
and external resources efficiently.
Whether in remote villages or
urban shanty towns, the key to im-
proved water and sanitation services
lies in greater co-operation-between
national and international organi-
zations.. .ministries within govern-
0 ments.. .private and public bodies...
and governments and their people.
At the international level, and
through actions in individual coun-
. tries, the United Nations develop-
ment system is helping to facilitate a
sharing of ideas, experience, skills
and resources. Only by working
together can the world significantly
extend clean water and proper sanita-
tion facilities, making life safer and
<., healthier for all.
Zimbabwean women construct a VIP
Latrine, a design which is popular in
Africa and parts of rural Latin America.
- F I a ;e-2
Housing and /
Source: Water. Waste and Wamft The Hidden Dimension'. M. Emendotd, Semr, Water and Wastwater Management. SMngpo.e, 1966
Figure 3. Women, the focal point for the delivery of basic services
7. With this background, the situation in this present decade is discouraging. The
gap is widening and the marginalised poor who are the unreached are becoming further
\ marginalised. The World Bank has recently used accessibility to water as one of the
- sides of a development diamond for comparison of socio-economic growth in a
\ country. Water coverage is a real indicator of the existing inequality and skewed
Pattern of wth in many countries where, in spite of per capital GNP of as much as
US $ 1000, the gap is widening. . ..
Figures; below presents graphically the methods which have tended to govern the
environmental sanitation sector in the past, and the approach proposed under the
HCES model. Each circle represents a different zone, from the household to the
DECISION MAKING IN
II Neighbourhood/City Ward
IV District/Province/River Basin
SFlow of Decision-Making
John M. Kalbermatten et al,
EAWAG, Switzerland, 1999
Just before her death in 1982, Barbara Ward, the late British economist,
wrote in the Foreword to Down to Earth: Environment and Human Net
"Many cultures share a profound belief that water is the basic
sustenance of humankind. That most fearsome image of pollution, the
deliberate poisoning of the wells, has always haunted people. It is not
chance that this was the first form of warfare to be outlawed."
To give the world clean drinking water and decent sanitation might cost
US$ 80 million a day for the next 10 years. This is trifling compared with
the continuing hemorrhage of resources to the instruments of death on
which we spend a shameful US$ 1,400 million a day. (Agarwal, et al,
PLENARY SESSIONS: ELMENDORF
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No new areas can
now be added
II. GLOBAL FRAME-WORK
A. Poverty 1
C. Health care
D. Violence against
E. Effe6ts of armed
F. Economic structures
Q. Sharing of power
H. Advancement of women
I. Women's human rights
J. Women and the media
K. Women and environment
L The girl-child
A measure of how
ments are about
The most debated part
of the documents
IV. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
Actions to be taken on all
of the areas of concern
SO OR C- The lrbune 84 August 1996 International Women's Tribune Centre
- FIGURE F; 6
The world spends
When human beings are secure
our world will be secure
The world needs
Basic child health
and nutrition S13
Primary education 56
Safe water and
Family planning $6
We callfor human security to take
precedence over national security
Source: International Peace Bureau,"
A Women's Peace Platform for
the 21st Century, Geneva, 1995.